Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the NFL, alleging the organization purposely concealed medical evidence about the risk of concussions. Players allege they suffered behavior changes, memory loss and loss of cognitive skills following repetitive brain injuries. Other players and their family members allege they developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to some players’ suicides.
Players argue they should have been warned about the risk of permanent damage if they returned to play too soon after sustaining a concussion and allege the NFL told them that concussions did not pose serious risks. Approximately 2,400 retired players are now involved in the lawsuits, alleging the NFL failed to act on information it had about the risks to players.
Now, the family of Junior Seau has sued the NFL, claiming the former linebacker’s suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing . The lawsuit alleges, according to the Associated Press, that the NFL, though œacts or omissions, hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. The suit was filed this past Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Diego. Helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., also is being sued by the Seaus, who say Riddell was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” used by NFL players. The suit says the helmets were unreasonably dangerous and unsafe.The lawsuit accuses the league of glorifying the violence in pro football, and creating the impression that delivering big hits “is a badge of courage which does not seriously threaten one’s health.”
The National Institutes of Health, based in Bethesda, Md., studied three unidentified brains, one of which was Seau’s, and said the findings on Seau were similar to autopsies of people “with exposure to repetitive head injuries.” “It was important to us to get to the bottom of this, the truth,” Gina Seau told the AP then. “And now that it has been conclusively determined from every expert that he had obviously had CTE, we just hope it is taken more seriously. You can’t deny it exists, and it is hard to deny there is a link between head trauma and CTE. There’s such strong evidence correlating head trauma and collisions and CTE.” In the final years of his life, Seau went through wild behavior swings, according to Gina and to 23-year-old son, Tyler. There also were signs of irrationality, forgetfulness, insomnia and depression.”He emotionally detached himself and would kind of `go away’ for a little bit,” Tyler Seau said. “And then the depression and things like that. It started to progressively get worse.”
The loss of Seau is a haunting moment for the NFL and those who followed the linebacker’s extensive career. Most of all, he is missed by those who lived with Seau and loved him and called him family.